Do you constantly feel like you have a million things that still need to be done? Do you spend more time worrying about things you need to do vs. actually getting them done? Do you feel like no matter how much you try to organize, you're barely staying afloat in a sea of post-it notes and project outlines? Whether you’re wondering how to make your website safe, drive visitors, or attention, you probably have too many things on your brain.
Maybe you're not that bad yet, but if you've started reading this article, you may need some organization guidance. It’s ok, it happens to the best of us. Here are some tips going to keep you from drowning in those post-its:
Yes, you may have 30 things you need to do. That's great. But focus on one thing at a time. When you're working on something, pretend for that period of time that that's the only thing you have to work on. Focus your full attention on the task at hand and you'll be able to move through it faster and keep a better attitude. It's too easy to fall into thinking about the next thing you have to do as soon as you're done with what you're working on, while you're working on it, but this just wastes precious energy and time. Remember: Focus!
Think of ways to streamline your tasks and your workspace. Pretend for a minute that part of your projects is to sign documents after you review them. Instead of signing every document right after you review, consider making a pile next to you of ones to sign later. Then, after doing all of your reviews, grab a pen and sign them all at the same time. This streamlining of tasks helps you to focus solely on reviewing for a period of time and then solely on signing for a period of time. Take this concept over into whatever types of tasks you personally do.
As for streamlining your workspace, just keep it as neat and organized as possible. Put what tools you use the most in the most front and center place, and remove clutter. You may love that cat-shaped paperclip dispenser, but if you use one paperclip a month, consider moving it into a drawer. Physical clutter leads to mental clutter.
3. Have a strategy
Take 15 minutes before you start working to make a game plan. Decide which tasks you'll tackle next, and in which order. Write your strategy down and actively cross items off the list as you do them. Not only does this give you a visual aid of what you need to do, but crossing off items will make you realize how much you're actually getting done.
If you're doing everything yourself, you may be wishing you'd drown in those post-it notes to put yourself out of misery. Don’t let your business run you. Look at your tasks and see if there's anything you can outsource. If you're spending 10 hours a week on accounting work, imagine how much extra time you'd have for other tasks if you hired a part-time accountant for 10 hours a week. Consider hiring an intern if money is an issue.
5. Be accessible everywhere
Find ways to take your work on the go. If you have a smartphone, you can answer emails while waiting in line for a coffee. If you have a laptop, you can work on that PowerPoint presentation while sitting on the train. Mobile apps are a great way to stay accessible and organized. Check out the Trello app to help you stay on top of all details of all of your projects right from your phone. Taking your work on the go will help you feel like you can accomplish more without being tied down to your formal workspace.
6. Take time away
This tip sounds like it conflicts with tip #5, but hear me out: If you stay connected well while you're connected, you will be able to feel more at ease with taking time away. Everyone needs to step away for awhile. Your work will still be there, and it will certainly get done, but there's no reason you shouldn't turn your phone off for a night here and there and shift your focus to your personal life. This will help clear your head, calm you down, and let you approach your tasks with a fresh energy and outlook.
If you follow these tips, you'll feel more organized and productive in less time than you can say, “Help! I'm drowning!”